The Forward’s reporting of Sebastian Gorka’s ties to a neo-Nazi nationalist group in Hungary has kicked off a raucous debate in the American Jewish community. A recent essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books by Jacob Labendz takes the measure of the discussion — and according to him, the Forward came out ahead of Tablet.
Labendz, a professor of Jewish studies at Youngstown State University in Ohio, argued that Tablet’s publication of several columns defending Gorka gave the White House counterterrorism aide undeserved cover from the Forward’s reporting. He goes on to deconstruct the words of Tablet columnist Liel Liebovitz, who has defended Gorka, and editor Alana Newhouse, who has defended publishing those articles. “Just like the media outlets which provide Gorka with a platform for spreading Islamophobia, so too must Tablet shoulder some responsibility for the ideas and authors it chooses to promote, normalize, and legitimize,” he wrote.
But Labendz added that while much of the current debate is over whether Gorka himself is anti-Semitic (which the Forward has not accused him of being), we miss something more important and obvious: Gorka’s Islamophobia and incompetence for the job he’s been tasked with.
The reporter who was allegedly assaulted by a Montana congressman-elect inspired someone to hold a fundraiser to repair his broken glasses — which eventually morphed into an online benefit for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the British newspaper The Guardian, was covering a congressional race in Montana when he was allegedly body slammed the day before the election by Republican candidate Greg Gianforte, who went on to win. According to witnesses, Jacobs tried to ask Gianforte about the American Health Care Act when the candidate picked him up by the neck and threw him to the ground, breaking Jacobs’ glasses.
Gianforte won the election the following day, but was also charged with misdemeanor assault.
In response to the incident, a GoFundMe page was set up by a user to raise money to buy Jacobs new glasses. Jacobs later reached out to the organizer and convinced him to send the funds to the Committee to Protect Journalists instead. More than $3,000 was raised in less than one day.
After all but securing his nomination, Josh Mandel is now facing a new challenge from left field in his race to become the Republican candidate for Ohio’s senate seat in 2018.
BuzzFeed is reporting that Ohio Republicans, unhappy with Mandel, are trying to recruit author J.D. Vance to represent the GOP in the senate race against Democrat Sherron Brown.
Vance’s bestseller Hillbilly Elegy was among the most talked-about books last year. The view it provides on distressed white working class Americans is seen as a key to understanding Donald Trump’s victory.
According to the report, Republicans believe that Vance, with his star power, could “beat Sherrod Brown in a heartbeat.” Mandel, the Jewish candidate now serving as Ohio state treasurer, is having a difficult time inspiring Ohioans at this point, and a Republican source said donors are “kind of wishy-washy on Josh.”
Mandel is a vocal supporter of President Trump, while Vance, who describes himself as a conservative Republican, has been openly critical of the president.
(JTA) — Hungarian Jews condemned a public broadcaster’s airing of an allegedly anti-Semitic rhetoric against billionaire George Soros, and a state news agency’s silence about it.
The main news program of the state MTVA channel aired on Wednesday the controversial rhetoric on Soros, who recently became the subject of hostile statements by Hungary’s top politicians over his funding for groups opposed to the policies of the rightwing government.
The news show, Hirado, carried quotes by Iran’s supreme spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, calling Soros “an evil Zionist-American multi-billionaire” and stating that Soros is responsible for destabilizing and defeating former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime.
Soros is also funding groups widely deemed to have an anti-Israel agenda, as well as Israeli groups with a critical attitude toward the Israeli government’s policies.
Mazsihisz, the umbrella group of Hungarian Jewish communities, condemned the inclusion of this quote by Khamenei, which echoes the purest and most common form “of anti-Jewish sentiments in the Hungarian extreme-right media,” Mazsihisz said in a statement Friday.
The statement also noted that the MTI state news agency declined to quote Mazsihisz’s statement or report about it, citing, according to Mazsihisz, concerns that it might “damage the credibility of the state media and its business interests.”
(JTA) — Management at a Texas movie theater laughed off criticism over alleged sexism in their decision to hold a women’s-only premiere of the film “Wonder Woman,” starring the Israeli actress Gal Gadot.
The backlash, which prompted the film theater chain to expand its women’s only program to other franchises, took place on Facebook against the Austin franchise of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain of theaters, following the Austin theater’s announcement on social media that it will be hosting a women’s-only screening Wednesday.
Alamo Drafthouse creative manager Morgan Hendrix told Mashable that his company is “very excited” that it is “providing an experience where women truly reign supreme has incurred the wrath of trolls only serves to deepen our belief that we’re doing something right.”
Bill Fairbrother, one of several hundred people who reacted critically to the news, wrote on the Austin theater’s page: “Have you ever a men’s only showing of any film?”
The theater replied: “We’ve never done showing where you had to be a man to get in but we did show the “Entourage” movie a few years ago.”
Following the criticism, Hendrix said the chain will be “expanding this program across the country and inviting women everywhere to join us as we celebrate this iconic superheroine in our theaters.”
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